He was my North, my South, my East and West,My working week and my Sunday rest,My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
I am sure it is everyone’s experience, as it has been mine, that any discovery we make about ourselves or the meaning of life is never, like a scientific discovery, a coming upon something entirely new and unsuspected; it is rather, the coming to conscious recognition of something, which we really knew all the time but, because we were unwilling to formulate it correctly, we did not hitherto know we knew.
Language is the mother, not the handmaiden, of thought; words will tell you things you never thought or felt before.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one,Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.For nothing now can ever come to any good.
We would rather be ruined than changedWe would rather die in our dreadThan climb the cross of the momentAnd let our illusions die.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939I sit in one of the divesOn Fifty-second StreetUncertain and afraidAs the clever hopes expireOf a low dishonest decade:Waves of anger and fearCirculate over the brightAnd darkened lands of the earth,Obsessing our private lives;The unmentionable odour of deathOffends the September night.Accurate scholarship canUnearth the whole offenceFrom Luther until nowThat has driven a culture mad,Find what occurred at Linz,What huge imago madeA psychopathic god:I and the public knowWhat all schoolchildren learn,Those to whom evil is doneDo evil in return.Exiled Thucydides knewAll that a speech can sayAbout Democracy,And what dictators do,The elderly rubbish they talkTo an apathetic grave;Analysed all in his book,The enlightenment driven away,The habit-forming pain,Mismanagement and grief:We must suffer them all again.Into this neutral airWhere blind skyscrapers useTheir full height to proclaimThe strength of Collective Man,Each language pours its vainCompetitive excuse:But who can live for longIn an euphoric dream;Out of the mirror they stare,Imperialism's faceAnd the international wrong.Faces along the barCling to their average day:The lights must never go out,The music must always play,All the conventions conspireTo make this fort assumeThe furniture of home;Lest we should see where we are,Lost in a haunted wood,Children afraid of the nightWho have never been happy or good.The windiest militant trashImportant Persons shoutIs not so crude as our wish:What mad Nijinsky wroteAbout DiaghilevIs true of the normal heart;For the error bred in the boneOf each woman and each manCraves what it cannot have,Not universal loveBut to be loved alone.From the conservative darkInto the ethical lifeThe dense commuters come,Repeating their morning vow;'I will be true to the wife,I'll concentrate more on my work,'And helpless governors wakeTo resume their compulsory game:Who can release them now,Who can reach the dead,Who can speak for the dumb?All I have is a voiceTo undo the folded lie,The romantic lie in the brainOf the sensual man-in-the-streetAnd the lie of AuthorityWhose buildings grope the sky:There is no such thing as the StateAnd no one exists alone;Hunger allows no choiceTo the citizen or the police;We must love one another or die.Defenseless under the nightOur world in stupor lies;Yet, dotted everywhere,Ironic points of lightFlash out wherever the JustExchange their messages:May I, composed like themOf Eros and of dust,Beleaguered by the sameNegation and despair,Show an affirming flame.
Follow, poet, follow rightTo the bottom of the night,With your unconstraining voiceStill persuade us to rejoice;With the farming of a verseMake a vineyard of the curse,Sing of human unsuccessIn a rapture of distress;In the deserts of the heartLet the healing fountain start,In the prison of his daysTeach the free man how to praise.
I will love you forever swears the poet. I find this easy to swear too. I will love you at 4:15 pm next Tuesday - Is that still as easy?
O stand, stand at the window As the tears scald and start;You shall love your crooked neighbour With your crooked heart.
Clear, unscalable, aheadRise the Mountains of Instead,From whose cold, cascading streamsNone may drink except in dreams.
The Ogre does what ogres can,Deeds quite impossible for Man,But one prize is beyond his reach:The Ogre cannot master speech.About a subjugated plain,Among it's desperate and slain,The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,While drivel gushes from his lips.
Every poet has his dream reader: mine keeps a look out for curious prosodic fauna like bacchics and choriambs.
Base words are uttered only by the baseAnd can for such at once be understood;But noble platitudes — ah, there's a caseWhere the most careful scrutiny is neededTo tell a voice that's genuinely goodFrom one that's base but merely has succeeded.
Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise, that this well-dressed young man is rich when he is really a penniless adventurer, or that if I do this such and such a result will follow when in fact it results in something very different. All good drama has two movements, first the making of the mistake, then the discovery that it was a mistake.
In the eyes of others a man is a poet if he has written one good poem. In his own he is only a poet at the moment when he is making his last revision to a new poem. The moment before, he was still only a potential poet; the moment after, he is a man who has ceased to write poetry, perhaps forever.
So long as we think of it objectively, time is Fate or Chance, the factor in our lives for which we are not responsible, and about which we can do nothing; but when we begin to think of it subjectively, we feel responsible for our time, and the notion of punctuality arises.
Without art, we should have no notion of the sacred; without science, we should always worship false gods.
We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and see our illusions die.
What is peculiar and novel to our age is that the principal goal of politics in every advanced society is not, strictly speaking, a political one, that is today, it is not concerned with human beings as persons and citizens, but with human bodies. ... In all technologically advanced countries today, whatever political label they give themselves, their policies have, essentially, the same goal: to guarantee to every member of society, as a psychophysical organism, the right to physical and mental health.
There must always be two kinds of art: escape-art, for man needs escape as he needs food and deep sleep, and parable-art, that art which shall teach man to unlearn hatred and learn love.
Part came from Lane, and part from D.H. Lawrence;Gide, though I didn't know it then, gave part.They taught me to express my deep abhorrenceIf I caught anyone preferring ArtTo Life and Love and being Pure-in-heart.I lived with crooks but seldom was molested;The Pure-in-heart can never be arrested.